Mika Salo will return to the scene of his Grand Prix debut when he joins the FIA Stewards’ panel at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Salo’s Grand Prix debut came at the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix in a two-race deal with the ailing Lotus F1 Team, before he enjoyed subsequent stints until 2002 with the likes of Tyrrell, Arrows, BAR, Ferrari, Sauber and Toyota.
His best results were a pair of podium finishes at the German and Italian Grands Prix in 1999 while substituting at Ferrari for the injured Michael Schumacher. Famously, he was forced to surrender a certain win at Hockenheim in favour of teammate Eddie Irvine, who was in contention for an ultimately unsuccessful tilt at the Drivers’ Championship title.
After being sacked by Toyota at the end of its inaugural 2002 F1 campaign, Salo has mainly dabbled in sports car racing, winning the American Le Mans Series (GT class) title in 2007 and twice claiming GT2 class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2008-9.
It will be the second time that the Finn, 47, has served on the decision-making committee, having made his debut on the panel at the 2013 Bahrain Grand Prix. He’s a more regular fixture in the paddock as a commentator for Finnish television.
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